Rachel de Joode

Cycle Music and Art Festival, Oct 27 – 30

26 October 2016

The second Cycle Music and Art Festival is taking place at Kópavogur’s Gerðarsafn Museum and various other venues around the Icelandic city, opening October 27 and running to October 30.

Dedicated to the intersection of art and music, the focus of the event is deeply rooted in the natural landscape as “an echo chamber in order to explore questions of deep time and peak futures.”

There is a long line-up of exciting events and exhibitions, including a performance by Rachel de Joode, a live concert by the South Icelandic Chamber Choir, ‘music chess deal #3’ by Curver Thoroddsen, a film screening of Finding Fanon II (2015) by Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, and a synthetic choir by Marguerite Humeau.

There’ll be an inclusion of Constant Dullaart’s media player invention (a product successfully funded Kickstarter campaign of company DullTech™), multi-media work ‘100% OTHER FIBRES’ by Heather Phillipson, a research performance by Johannes Paul Raether, film screening of Kwassa Kwassa (2015) by SUPERFLEX, a new body of sculptural work by Vanessa Safavi, and Alvaro Urbano‘s new He would always leave the window open, even at night (2016).

See the Cycle Music and Art Festival website for the full programme.**

Header image: Marguerite Humeau, ‘FOXP2’ (2016). Digital Image. Courtesy the artist + Le Studio Humain (Benjamin Penaguin) for Marguerite Humeau.

Rachel de Joode @ Cinnamon, Nov 28 – Jan 9

26 November 2015

Rotterdam’s Cinnamon launches a new solo exhibition by Rachel de Joode titled Connective Tissue and running at the art space from November 28 to January 9, 2016.

Connective Tissue follows a string of solo and group shows that de Joode has participated in in the last few years, including Surfaces at Neumeister Bar-Am and Soft Inquiry at Kansas, as well as the Dazzle Camouflage group exhibition at Rye Lane Studios and the Tabularium group show at Slopes.

Little info is provided about de Joode’s exhibition at Cinnamon, but if the press image has any relevance, her signature style of flattening textured and three-dimensional images into a smooth 2D surface will hold strong.

See the exhibition page for (minimal) details. **

Rachel de Joode, Surfaces (2015). Install view. Courtesy Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin.
Rachel de Joode, Surfaces (2015). Install view. Courtesy Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin.

Kate Cooper + Rachel de Joode (2015) exhibition photos

4 September 2015

Kate Cooper‘s RIGGED, spread over two floors of Berlin’s KW Institute for Contemporary Art from September 14 to February 12, was not designed for comfort. I wrote about it earlier, comparing the effect of Cooper’s CGI-based exhibition with Marguerite Humeau‘s show Horizons at Import Projects, also running during Berlin Art Week. Cooper won the Schering Stiftung Art Award for her work, which takes the techniques of CGI, commercial photography, and post-production to look at the status the female body has occupied in the history of digital image technology. “In our post-representational world,” Cooper writes, “where images are dislocated and free-floating across networks – how can we renegotiate an agency to images, imbue them with power, make them work for us?”

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Rachel de Joode, Surfaces (2015). Install view, courtesy Neumeister Bar-Am.

Months later on May 2, Rachel de Joode‘s solo exhibition, Surfaces, opened at Neumeister Bar-Am in Berlin, along with Cooper’s new photographic piece, Care Work, produced specifically for the gallery’s Der Würfel 80 centimetre cubed project space. The two artists’ approaches couldn’t be more different. Whereas Cooper takes painful steps away from the natural, de Joode’s exhibition is a kind of return to the natural—or, at the very least, an examination of it. Interrogating a “contemporary agency of ‘things’ and how we engage with them”, de Joode focuses in on the German concept of ‘Zwischendinge’—”a between of things”. Examining the connections between her skin and the clay she moulds, between various objects and their photographic representations, between the organic and the artificial, she argues that “all these ‘Things’ and their ‘Betweens’ have equal agency”. **

Rachel de Joode’s Surfaces and Kate Cooper’s Care Work were showing at Neumeister Bar-Am from May 2 to June 26, 2015.

Header image: (left) Kate Cooper, ‘Care Work’ (2015). Install view; (right) Rachel de Joode, Surfaces (2015). Install view. Courtesy Neumeister Bar-Am.

 

Dazzle Camouflage @ Rye Lane Studios, Dec 17 – Jan 4

15 December 2014

Taking the sixth issue of SALT. and its manifesto as a starting point, the Dazzle Camouflage group exhibition will run at London’s Rye Lane Studios from December 17 to January 4.

The manifesto disseminated in the feminist magazine’s sixth and latest issue has come across our radar, and we’re glad someone else is giving it the attention it deserves. The group show, which features works by Phoebe Collings-JamesAnn HirschRachel de Joode and Huw Lemmey, takes SALT.’s disobedience as a methodology. The goal is not to dismantle existing power relations, just as it was not the publication’s goal to dismantle language itself, but rather to “negotiate new ways of existing within them disruptively”.

The December 17 opening brings an 8pm performance by artist Beatrice Loft Schulz, starting off the three-week exhibition on the basis of “an investment in embracing the performative potential within these hierarchies, whilst at once making known the paradoxes in doing so” through everything from reality show dating, physically imposing oneself onto objects, or “creating contingent situations from a masculine vocabulary tied up in the miasma of power relations”.

See the exhibition FB page for details. **

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Tabularium @ Slopes reviewed

8 September 2014

Examining information dissemination and the archive on and offline, Tabularium exists as a physical exhibition and a website. Curated by Alana Kushnir and taking its name from the 78 BCE Roman building storing tablet legal documents, it builds on the ongoing project collating and preserving publications not available in a digital format yet drawing from, or reflecting on the internet. The original Roman Tabularium was closed to the public but the works on show at Melbourne’s Slopes gallery examine the modern archive as a public resource, actively created, modified and consumed on a daily basis.

Slopes is a space that exists in a transitional state – sitting in the back of a building currently being renovated into apartments, it will close once these renovations are complete. Right now though, it’s a white cube punctuated by a ceiling open to a rickety-looking wooden catwalk and its designated ‘slope’ (a remnant of its previous use as an underground carpark) jutting into the gallery. It’s a perfect place to present Tabularium, where the remnants of a utilitarian past and pre-ordained non-gallery future mean that the space itself is positioned within the fluctuating lifecycle of the archive.

Tabularium (2014) @ Slopes exhibition view. Photo by Christo Crocker. Image courtesy Alana Kushnir.
Tabularium (2014) @ Slopes exhibition view. Photo by Christo Crocker. Image courtesy Alana Kushnir.

The destruction of tactile documents, from the legendary burning of the Library of Alexandria to the recent loss of museum artefacts in Syria to civil war, are examples of how physical objects of knowledge and information can be lost, but the intangible online one is just as prone. Both Ry David Bradley’s ‘Flowers for Ukraine’ (2014) and Jon Rafman’s ‘Annals of Time Lost’ (2013) examine said extinction. Bradley inserts an abstracted flower into the Ukraine Wikipedia page, printing a copy to record the incursion. Presented along with a large-scale reproduction of the plant, its documentation continues to offer an IRL version of the page that exists long after editors have figuratively ‘deflowered’ the online one. Rafman’s video work, meanwhile, draws from the London’s National Gallery collection to produce juxtapositions of anime characters and old master paintings, building a new archive informed by the personal narratives of its creator.

The archive as physical property is examined within Lawrence Lek’s ‘Memory Palace’ (2014) video, taking its audience on a virtual tour of an imagined Tabularium space in which server racks and monitor screens take the place of inscribed tablets. Katja Novitskova’s knife-like ‘Shapeshifter X’ and ‘Shapeshifter V’ (2013), are made from circuit board wafers and presented within acrylic cases. The circuit boards do not disclose their originally intended use and any information encoded within them is lost. Instead, the museum aesthetic of their presentation prompts the audience to consider them as historical objects used in the distant past.

Alana Kushnir, 'Tabularium Archive' (2014 – ongoing) (updated list available [here] [https---docs.google.com-document-d-1C8hqwpkFZiecHtsWu4FIQsGLwSS7A2NxoZkRxMfzzTM-edit?usp=sharing]). Photo by Christo Crocker. Image courtesy Alana Kushnir.
Alana Kushnir, ‘Tabularium Archive’ (2014 – ongoing) (updated list available [here] [https—docs.google.com-document-d-1C8hqwpkFZiecHtsWu4FIQsGLwSS7A2NxoZkRxMfzzTM-edit?usp=sharing]). Photo by Christo Crocker. Image courtesy Alana Kushnir.

Other works, also including Tom Penney, Heman Chong and Anthony Marcellini, continue this exploration of documentation and archive construction. Eloïse Bonneviot’s ‘My Forensic Steps 2’ (2014) print on silk presents written instructions on the process of crime-scene documentation within the gallery, then subverts the objective output of those rules through a first-person game hosted on the Slopes gallery website. This subversion continues within Rachel De Joode’s print, ‘Hanging Marble’ (2014), rough marble reduced to two dimensions and exuding an oppositional strength and suppleness, a perfect representation of the way knowledge flows and changes within the archive.

Surrounded by these works in the gallery sits Tabularium Archive, a library of books on a server rack that capture the internet in some way, yet exist only within a physical reality. They’re digital ‘ghosts’ of texts from Kushnir’s personal collection, which fade in and out of view from within the space, reflecting on their status as information not available through online archives. Both the books and the works within Tabularium examine the spaces between the original Tabularium’s static information collection and storage, and the data flows of our current realities. Kushnir and the artists involved have built a modern Tabularium – an evolving space which sets nothing in stone. **

Exhibition photos, top-right.

The Tabularium group exhibtion is on at Melbourne’s Slopes gallery, running from August 21 to September 13, 2014.

Header image: Tabularium (2014) @ Slopes exhibition view. Photo by Christo Crocker. Image courtesy Alana Kushnir.

A retrospective reading of Linear Manual

23 May 2014

“We need to talk about the stick again,” declares Johannes Thumfart in Linear Manual a collection of essays, images, sidebars, “slides and poetry” exploring themes of tools, power, fetish, surface and, of course, sticks. Featuring 13 contributors, “hosted” by Berlin-based artist Martin Kohout and published under his own bespoke TLTRPreß (TooLongToReadPress) publisher, as well as PAF, the book may have been published two years ago but its ideas are no less (if not more) relevant.

Intermittent thumbnails, photos, illustrations of people and animals holding and using twigs, batons, staffs, rods are strewn across the thin, pale-pink covered book –designed by PWR studio’s Rasmus Svensson. Arrows, pointers and cursors direct the eye, one toward the Linear Manual title of the spine, another to an opening quote from Alain Robbe-Grillet’s The Voyeur where its confused protagonist Mathias finds himself pondering an excuse away from his hosts:

“The complete lack of form which presided over the latter’s arrangement prevented the salesman once again from knowing what to do.”

Based on and built around the structure of a conference meeting, Kohout provides the form Mathias’ meal is lacking in the “Morning session”, “Lunch break”, “Afternoon session” and “Tea at five” segments splitting and interjecting the sequential, or ‘linear’, nature of his chosen book format. Paul Pieroni’s text-box antagonisms pop up with the odd haughty comment across “Better ignorant at 47 than self-aware at 30. So STICK AROUND” or “This one’s after some Jagermeister…” and Jo-ey Tang’s series of photocopied pages composed of text revealing “the age of the questioned document… completely dropped”. Tang’s words follow Paul Haworth’s poignant eulogy to a broken heart that unfolds across a bathroom and the subway; emotions in relation to space and infrastructure –“this is my life”.

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“Here too he found himself unable to act according to any rule he could interpret as applicable…”

That’s another echo of the aforementioned Robbe-Grillet quote, as one contemplates Brian Droitcour’s brilliantly deadpan ‘Robots in the Commune’. From the outset it calls out the “hordes of hipsters… fuelling the same corporate giant they’re trying to take down” during #OccupyWallStreet with their iPhones, accompanied by an image of onlookers taking happy snaps of riot police. A familiar Office Assistant icon of a paperclip personified (“You’re computer seems to be turned on”), accompanies the piece as it deconstructs the “totalitarian networks” of word processors and Google search engines and their role in developing and perpetuating ideology through ‘contextual discovery’: “robbie williams naked. Related searches: robbie williams fat”.

Juliette Bonneviot also recreates the monotonous and misleading nature of unreliable online constructions of reality through film stills for ‘La Mort De Lully’ (‘Wikidemia’). Here, the story of Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste de Lully, is told through the non-descript, grayscale CGI form of a male archetype, narrated by white bubble text: “Lully refused to have his toe amputated and the gangrene spread, resulting in his death on 22 March”. It not only illustrates the banality of the network’s malevolence but questions how we allow for things like this happen. Pieroni’s blunt answer comes in one of his forthright interjections: “Convenience FUCKO.”

Dieter Roestraete’s ‘Jena Revisited (Ten Tentative Tenets)’ links what he thinks is the problematic “rhetoric of emancipation through immersion” –where the “idea of the art world starts to eclipse the idea of art” –to the network as well. He uses Caspar David Friedrich’s famous ‘The Wanderer Above the Mists’ as an allegory for the “haze that fills today’s art world”, where, like in Droitcour’s ‘Robots in the Commune’, it exposes the “utopia of mobility”as becoming “a dystopia of absolute immobility”.


Perhaps that’s why the timeless format of the bound book is such an apt one for Linear Manual; it’s segments offering a structure to the multimedia presentation that an actual interactive, multimedia format couldn’t. Yet, while the book form itself perpetuates the arbitrary idea of duration in the imposed structures of the working day, Linear Manual also both mimics and negates the distracted habits of the online browser. Because, while the diversion from Thumfart’s ‘Why We Need to Talk about the Stick Again: A Post-Deconstructivist Meditation’ is encouraged away from the “Animals use Sticks too!” subheading by a ubiquitous arrow pointing toward a 2011 wikipedia entry on the New Caledonian Crow, the extent and breadth of this distraction is still restricted to content curated by Kohout. You may have the option of disregarding it, but it’s still the only content there to disregard.

Meanwhile, the smoothed-edged box of Pieroni’s aphorisms continue to appear as listless distraction alongside and away from Linear Manual’s central pieces. Kohout’s dazzling ‘Sticks: Class A’ series, photographed in collaboration with Rachel de Joode, fashioned and fetishised by bold colour blocks, sport grips and wrist bands against a blue-clouded backdrop are met with Pieroni’s, “I like the look of awkward vegetables on the glass”. There’s fetishisation throughout Linear Manual; of textures, the nine-to-five workday, a chrome draw handle suspended in white space. The complexity and stark beauty of a corporate-like glass railing is set and displayed on its own with a “Four Seasons glass railing available at www.glass-railing.net”, an actual showcase of glass railings for sale online.

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Published in 2012 Linear Manual holds up in its interrogation of contemporary technologies, despite a widely held assumption that their progress is advancing at such a rate that softwares can become obsolete within a matter of months, but there are things that don’t change. We’re all still Thumfart’s “animals in human costume”. The lack of distinction is not only illustrated by the New Caledonian Crow’s ability to also use tools like we do but our own persistent exploitation of these tools for “allowing men to treat their fellow men like animals” –whether by stick or by internet. Sadly, there’s been no tool invented for circumventing human nature, as Mathias’ narrator declares within The Voyeur’s confusing and ambiguous time frame: “the meal had no more reason to be over than it had to continue”.**

A new TLTRPreß publication Sleep Cures Sleepiness will be available on May 26, to launch with Martin Kohout’s Gotthard project anniversary at Berlin’s Exile gallery on June 13, 2014.